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NYC Life Hacks

How to Find an Apartment in New York City

In a city like New York, finding great apartments that happen to be affordable can be a lot like looking for a needle in a haystack. Apart from the famously high cost of living, there’s just too much competition. That’s why you really need to pull all the stops to land the apartment of your dreams. Luckily, there are surefire ways that you can make it happen. Here’s how:

Know what you can afford.

Like we said, NYC is a rather expensive place to live in. It’s highly likely that rent will be your biggest expense month to month. However, you really don’t want to be rent-burdened as this can put a real damper on your lifestyle. So before you jump the gun and go for the first apartment you find, do make it a point to know your budget. As a rule of thumb, your rent should be no more than 30% of your monthly income. Also note that most landlords have very strict income and credit requirements, so it’s always a good idea to know your credit score right off the bat. Some landlords may even require their tenants to have a yearly income that’s roughly 40 times the monthly rent. This can be quite a challenge for those who are just starting out. In this case, you will need a guarantor, preferably a family member, to co-sign the lease with you.

Know your boroughs.

New York City has 5 boroughs that you can choose to live in, and each one has its own share of qualities and quirks. It is important to do your research and know which borough suits your lifestyle best. Get a map, get on the subway, and get to exploring! Not only that, boroughs outside of Manhattan are normally a lot more affordable and flexible, so it’s good to consider those if you’re working with a strict budget.

Google map of Manhattan for Metropolis Moving NYC moving services

Know what you want (and what you don’t want).

Of course, you must have some expectations regarding your future home—realistic ones, of course. It is, therefore, a great idea to make a list of your must-haves right before you commence your search. Ditto with your deal-breakers. This will help you narrow down your choices. However, it’s also advised that you keep an open mind. You may need to compromise here and there, so it’s best to know your wiggle room.

Know your sources.

There are a variety of ways to find an apartment in NYC. You could always take the time to comb through thousands of spaces on Apartments and Zillow, but there are better options. Possibly the most convenient and fuss-free way to do so is through a broker. Brokers have access to listings that not a lot of people may even know are available, plus they know the ins and outs of the market. Our friends at Manhattan Miami have come up with a fantastic New York City Apartment Rental Guide that covers the basics of relocating to NYC, finding an apartment, and understanding the lease application process and tenancy details.


Make your move easy. Hire movers.

Moving to New York is stressful enough as it is. We find that clients have much more peace of mind and feel more welcome to the city if they have help moving in. Call around to see who’s available or ask us for a moving quote.

map of New York City